Wild duck and its breeding

Wild duck is a bird from the family of ducks, which has several varieties. Habitats - Russia and all of Eurasia, America, Africa and even Australia. It is one of the most popular hunting sites. Wild ducks can be raised at home if you create the appropriate conditions for them. The weight of birds is less than that of domestic breeds, but the meat has a great taste and not so fatty. In addition, some species are very beautiful, they are kept as decorative birds.

Wild duck

Wild duck species

All types of wild ducks whose photos can be seen on the net are divided into two types: river, or gray, and diving to great depths, diving. In America, there are indigenous people who are genetically far from Eurasian species. They differ among themselves in their habitat, in the method of obtaining food, breeding, in the number of ducklings in the brood, voice and appearance. Some breeds are quite common, others are listed in the Red Book and hunting for them is prohibited. Below is a brief description and name of some breeds.

Mallard

Type of mallard - the most common breed of wild ducks and quite large. Its distinctive feature is the different plumage of males and females. The drake is gray, its head is green with a beautiful tint. On the neck there is a white ring, the breast is brown or brown. Some tail feathers are black. The female is brown-red, her plumage merges with the environment. The beak of birds of both sexes is olive, the legs are bright orange.

Large mallard, drake weighs up to 1.5 kg, duck - 0.8-1.4 kg, body length - 60 cm, wingspan in flight - 90 cm. Mallards live both near forest swamps and lakes, and in city parks . From the northern territories, for example, from Siberia, they fly away for the winter to the regions with a milder climate.

Gogol

Gogol ducks are smaller than mallards. Females weigh 0.5-1.3 kg, males 0.7-1.5 kg, body length about 50 cm. The color of the drake is very beautiful. Head black with low tide, white spots under eyes. The sides and chest are also white, and the back is black. The coloring of females is more modest, smoky gray. The lower body is white. A characteristic feature of the gogol is a triangular head.

Merganser

Greater Merganser is the largest representative of wild ducks. Its weight ranges from 0.8 kg to 2.1 kg, body length - 58-66 cm. This breed of wild ducks has an interesting plumage. Secondary fly wings are covered with a dark pattern; in drakes, it resembles zebra stripes. The male’s head is black, the body is white, there is a clear line of separation between the color of the head and body. Females have a light gray back, brown-red head, white sides and tummy. A crest is clearly visible on the heads of ducks of both sexes.

Merganser lives throughout Eurasia, both in the west and east of the Urals. Birds nest in packs of 500 individuals. They feed on aquatic vegetation and fish, because their meat has a specific smell. It disappears only late in the fall, when the birds gain weight.

Gray duck

The gray ducks look almost like mallards, only they are smaller, the drake weighs 0.6-1.3 kg, the duck weighs 0.5-1 kg, the body length is 50 cm, the wingspan in flight is 80-90 cm. Drakes with ducks are very similar, their color is almost no different. Both are brownish-gray, a white mirror is marked on the wings, and the abdomen is also white. The beak is dark, with a bright red border.

Mandarin duck

Beautiful decorative ducks that are found in Primorye and the eastern Asian countries (China, Japan). Small in size, their weight ranges from 0.4 to 0.7 kg. A distinctive feature of the breed is a bright mating outfit of the male, which combines orange, green, purple, blue, white and beige. The only breed that happily sits on the treads of trees and nests in hollows. Very often they are bred at home for beauty, although at the first opportunity they return to the wild state.

Teal

The teal got its name because of a special scream that resembles the sound or quack “teal-teal”. These are small ducks, 30-40 cm in length and weighing up to 1 kg. Males and females are similar, they have a brown head, a slightly upturned beak and a gray-brown plumage of the body. In the mating season, the spleen is painted more brightly. There are several varieties of teal: whistle, cracker, klotunok, marble. The voice and appearance of different breeds of teal are different.

Habitat and lifestyle

The habitat and lifestyle of different breeds of ducks are similar. These are waterfowl that live near water bodies. Most species feed on algae, duckweed and other aquatic plants. Also, their diet includes mollusks, small fish, caviar, insects. Deep diving species can get food from the bottom, where other animals do not reach.

The wild duck tribe plays an important role in maintaining the ecology: birds clear water bodies of excess vegetation, control the reproduction of fish, frogs and other animals. With their excrement, they flatter the coastal zone.

Most duck species are migratory, but in the southern regions there are also those that do not change their place of residence.

The breeding process in wild ducks begins in the spring, when they arrive from warm edges. The drakes of most species “dress” in beautiful mating robes and look after the females. Fights are rare, although there is some element of competition between the males. Ducks mate mainly in water. After mating, the female searches for a place for the nest. Most breeds make houses on earth. The exception is tangerines. Diving nests in shallow water.

Females rush for 1-2 weeks, lay 7-12 testicles in the nest, then begin to hatch them. Mallards like to lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks, so sometimes there can be up to 20 ducklings in a brood.

Most females hatch eggs on their own. Males at this time are engaged in food search and nest protection, and some are generally little interested in their offspring. Egg incubation lasts 29-31 days, ducklings are born strong, they can immediately swim and get their own food. In the wild, ducks per season can have 1-2 broods, at home 2-3.

How to catch a duck

Hunting for wild ducks is one of the most popular. The season opens in late autumn, when the ducks are well-fed and warm edges are about to fly away. Also, in some regions hunting is allowed in early spring, before the start of the breeding season. But at this time, the mass of ducks is less, some wild meat may have a specific smell and taste.

Many imagine duck hunting exclusively with a gun. But these birds can be caught without firearms. There are ways to not injure the duck, and then grow it at home. They are very ancient, because the first breeds were bred in this way: birds were caught near lakes, brought home, fattened and only then sent to the slaughter.

So, how many ways to hunt ducks without a gun and how to catch a wild duck without injuring it? There are a lot of methods, here are some of them:

  • on the hook;
  • in the basket with a hinged lid;
  • on a loop or snare;
  • into the trap.

Attract ducks using decoy, the sound of which mimics the voice of a bird. Decoy stuffed ducks are also popular.

Hook fishing

To catch a duck on a hook, you need to have a fishing line, the hook itself and the bait. The fishing line is fixed on the shore with a brick or stone. As a bait, you can use small fish, entrails, a piece of bacon. You can put several lures and attract ducks with semolina. The bird swallows the food along with the hook and cannot get free. You can use a button instead of a hook.

Hinged basket

The method is more complicated, but allows you to catch a duck without injuring it. You need to make a basket with a lid that leans inward. Fasten the basket between several logs. Top with a little earth and lay the bait. The bird, attracted by the smell and appearance of food, climbs onto the lid and falls into the basket. You can pick her up and take her home.

Loop and snare

A self-tightening loop is installed in the place where the ducks stay for the night. Bait is placed near it, it is best to take corn with minced fish, fry or a piece of lard. The hunter hides near the loop, watches the ducks and holds the end of the cord to tighten it on the neck of the duck when she finds the bait. The method requires some skill, therefore, it is far from accessible to everyone. The bird is injured, it must immediately be sent for slaughter.

The principle is the same. Only the loop is tightened not on the neck, but on the foot. You can think of the installation so that the loop is tightened on the leg independently. If you catch a wild duck by force, it will remain alive, but the paw can be broken.

Trap

There are standard traps that are rectangular boxes. A door with a lace is installed in front of it, which automatically closes if the ducks see the bait and go inside. As bait, use food or a stuffed bird. Instead of a drawer, you can make a network on a backwater that covers the duck. In such traps, the bird remains alive, it can be fed at home. What traps look like can be seen in the photo.

Home Content

Keeping wild ducks at home is possible. Contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to tame birds, because they are attached to feeding places. If there is a lot of food, why return to the wild? In an extreme case, the wings are cut to the birds. Most often, mallards are grown at home, as decorative - duck mandarin ducks, gogol. Duck care is simple, they eat little, so they do not require large expenses.

To maintain wild breeds in the household, it is necessary to equip a corral. You can let the birds free-range: they will return to places where there is a lot of food (in the owner’s yard). The duck house is built of brick or wood, you can use the existing barn. Birds are unpretentious to conditions, the only requirement is adequate heating in the winter. Wild ducks must have access to water. It is desirable that this be a natural body of water. An alternative to the pond can be a small pool or a bathroom in the yard.

How to feed wild ducks? Almost all the birds eat, but feeding should be adequate so that the birds gain weight well. The diet includes:

  • small fish;
  • minced meat or fish;
  • water plants (duckweed, algae);
  • meadow grasses and rhizomes of meadow plants;
  • grain, best of all barley, millet, corn;
  • tops of garden plants and vegetables.

Be sure to mix the ducks with fine sand, gravel, shells and chalk. This is necessary so that the food is better over-etched, the necessary materials enter the body. You can’t give brown bread, buns, sugar, spoiled foods so that the birds do not get sick.

Breeding ducks

Breeding wild ducks in the household is a feasible task. It should be noted that unlike domesticated, these birds form pairs. If several ducks are planted in one drake, he will choose one, the others will be ignored. With good care of the couple, you can get 2-3 broods during the season. Some species mate only in water (for example, tangerines), this should also be taken into account when planning breeding.

The duck starts scampering in April. 7-12 testicles appear in the clutch. If you collect them, the duck can carry even more. Wild living has developed a good maternal instinct in birds, so that they perfectly hatch and raise chicks. Egg incubation lasts 28-30 days. Ducklings appear fully formed, covered with a cannon, already in the first hours the duck displays them in a pond.

Feeding the little ducklings in the first days after hatching is standard. They are given a boiled egg, a curd with chopped herbs. After a couple of days, steamed millet or porridge, minced meat and fish can be added to the diet. Very soon, the duck will teach them how to get their own food. The wild duckling quickly gets to its feet, swims perfectly from birth. Chicks are very friendly, caring and attentive. They can grow even without a female, straying in an organized flock. The survival rate of chicks with ducks is high.

How to carve a wild duck

Many housewives ask how to pluck a wild duck and cut it. The process is not simple and requires considerable effort. Pinching is the most time-consuming step in cutting a carcass. There are several ways:

  • scalding with boiling water;
  • scalding in a bag;
  • dry plucking.

In the first case, the duck is carefully doused with several liters of boiling water. In this case, you need to make sure that water falls on the base of the feathers. When the carcass has cooled, you can start plucking. You can put a wild duck in a bag and put it in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Then it is pulled out and ironed with a hot iron. Feathers depart even better than in the first case. It is most difficult to pinch a dry wild duck, it can take several hours, but the carcass will be stored longer. It is better to imagine the process of cutting by photo and video tutorials.

After the duck is plucked, the remains of feathers and fluff are burned over the fire. The finished carcass can be cut into pieces or cooked whole. After dry plucking, it is well stored in the refrigerator for several days. If necessary, the carcasses are frozen, but then the taste of meat worsens.

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